“So I actually want to do what’s best for Descript right now, which is to basically focus on learning, not selling.” – Jay LeBoeuf in today’s Tip 1595
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Scott Ingram: You’re listening to the Daily Sales Tips podcast and I’m your host, Scott Ingram. Today’s tip comes from a new podcast called The Science of Scaling. It’s hosted by Mark Roberge – who you might know as the founding CRO at HubSpot, co-founder of Stage 2 Capital, or as a Senior Lecturer at Harvard Business School. Each episode of The Science of Scaling gets super tactical on how to scale your sales and revenue. And episodes feature this really unique, “stop the tape” feature where Mark literally pauses the interview to jump in with a deeper breakdown of the different points being made by the guest. You’ll hear that happen here as he talks with Jay LeBoeuf, the head of sales at Descript.
Mark Roberge: Why did you go non-commission?
Jay LeBoeuf: The short answer is I have absolutely no experience as an enterprise sales professional. I have always wondered why it was a thing. I always felt extraordinarily driven and hardworking, and I didn’t feel like I would ever do anything different if I had a commission. But there’s also a lot of examples that I’ve come across, Mark, especially since we’re still very early days of what we’re doing that we would have made some decisions that run at odds with what the product team needs. We would have sold into organizations that might not have been good long-term customers. We would have made some deals that could have churned within 12 months, 18 months, and reflected very poorly on us. Right now, I put a premium on us landing a deal with a well-known customer that has high growth potential.
Mark Roberge: Okay, let’s unpack this commission discussion for a second. Well, first off, his last comment here of a commission plan would have ruined the first phases when they’re trying to iterate product and voice of customer and debugging. It’s like, Yeah, we don’t need a commission plan designed in there too. I’ve used it, completely agree. Don’t use a comp plan until we have product-market fit during the product iteration. It’s just not right. And the people that you attract to the job are not right either. They should be at equity, a base salary. They’re part of the team, finding fit. What I find to be intriguing is he’s scaling without a commission plan too. Seeing it here and there, Daniel Pink talked about and to sell as human. Every time I’ve seen it, someone runs a test next to it, and the traditional comp-driven, variable compensation-driven salesperson outperforms. I don’t know why. I agree, which is sentiment. It’s like the engineers aren’t a variable comp plan, but they’re really productive. I mean, the skin in the game is they keep their job and they have equity. Why can’t that be the case for sales too? And if it’s so unique with commission, why don’t we put engineers on commission plans too as well? That’s a complicated one, but we’ll see how it plays out for Descript. Okay, let’s get back to Jay.
Jay LeBoeuf: And it doesn’t matter if it’s 12 months, 18 months, we’re at a stage that we can make these bets. We can learn from these customers, bring them into the fold. If they’re only two, three, four, five users, it’s really not a good use of people’s time to be closing a lot of those deals. So if they’re commissioned, I can see they might want no part of that, and they feel like I’m disincentivizing them to do those. So I actually want to do what’s best for Descript right now, which is to basically focus on learning, not selling.
Scott Ingram: You can listen and subscribe to The Science of Scaling now on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and everywhere else you listen to podcasts and of course, we’ve got those links for you at DailySales.Tips/1595. Once you’ve been over there, be sure to come right back here for another great sales tip. Thanks for listening!